Hamilton Tiger-Cats will hit the road in 2013 after McMaster (and Jeff Giles) nix Ron Joyce Stadium plan

55 Yard Line

The truth is usually in the middle. One larger truth within the story of McMaster University telling the Hamilton Tiger-Cats they cannot use Ron Joyce Stadium in 2013 is that, really, a institution of higher education isn't supposed to be in the business of staging of professional football games, especially when it may disrupt campus life.

At that same time, when the decision involves McMaster athletics and recreation director Jeff Giles, who had a stormy tenure as CFL commissioner about a decade ago, it comes off as Canadians eating their own. There is no ideal solution for the Ticats' 2013 home stadium drama, but on some level it's a shame the team won't play a single game in the city it's called home for generations.

Scroll to continue with content

That being said, McMaster had a somewhat valid explanation, as Steve Milton explained:

After consultation with stakeholders, including students, neighbours and Hamilton Health Sciences, the university decided that having Ron Joyce Stadium host Ticats games wasn't feasible. Chief among the concerns raised, [McMaster vice-president Andrea] Farquhar said, was traffic congestion and the possibility that patient and ambulance access to the hospital could be impeded.

The impact on the more than 10,000 students attending summer classes and noise from game day activities in a residential area were also factors, Farquhar said. She noted to increase seating capacity to 15,000 from 5,500 would have involved temporary stands on three sides of Ron Joyce Stadium and the closure of Michell Crescent for three months.

The Ticats are renting several Mac facilities including residence rooms and the stadium for their training camp and have been doing so annually since Bob Young bought the team for the 2004 season. It's estimated the Cats pay Mac about $200,000 during each training camp.The Ticats had other possibilities for the 2013 games that will now be Mac-less, and it appears the University of Western Ontario will be the beneficiary. The Labour Day game is likely to be at Rogers Centre in Toronto but most of the other games could now go to Western, although Moncton has a greater chance. (Hamilton Spectator)

Ticats president Scott Mitchell got a good dig in by pointing out to the Spectator, "I find it ironic that it was MRX" — a Ticats-owned holding company — "paired the Vanier Cup and Grey Cup together and Mac seemed to be having a pretty great time at that."

It's good line, for sure. It paints a picture of various interests within the CFL and Canadian Interuniversity Sport failing to work together for the greater good. It's also a little disingenuous, though. McMaster didn't have any say in where the 2011 Vanier Cup was played. As well, this was the fifth time MRX has helped organize the Vanier Cup. The first four were held in Southern Ontario (2004, '05 and '08 at Ivor Wynne Stadium and at Rogers Centre in 2007). What would have been more convenient for most McMaster alumni and students, having the Vanier Cup game in the Ontario's Golden Horseshoe or three time zones away in Vancouver?

The upshot is that if the Ticats temporarily move to Moncton, the league will glean what audience there is for the league in the Maritimes beyond one-offs like Touchdown Atlantic. It's not ideal that court challenges in Ottawa meant the league won't play the 2014 Grey Cup in the nation's capital or that the opening date for the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium keeps getting pushed back. Like the Ticats' home digs in 2013, this is probably all temporary.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

What to Read Next